We all know how beneficial probiotics are for our system. But most have linked their intake along with some antibiotics or some bowel problem. Would you believe it if we told you that probiotics are associated with better mood? And yet as incredible as it sounds, a plethora of research advocates it!
Probiotics: What is it?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help us in our overall health.They balance the microflora in the gut and thus boost the immune system.
Probiotics are naturally present in the intestine, while we can take them from fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir and others. For many years, probiotics have been trading in the form of supplements and many experts recommend them mainly for digestive problems such as diarrhea, bloating and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Probiotics and Mood
Studies show that the gut and the brain are connected via biochemical pathways between the intestinal nervous system and the central nervous system (1). The gut is often called as “Second Brain”, as it produces many of the same neurotransmitters that are also found in the brain and play a key role in mood regulation. Indeed, it is said that 90% of serotonin – also known as the hormone of happiness – is produced in the digestive system (1)!
Very often what affects the gut also affects the brain. For example, people with gastrointestinal problems such as chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease etc often have intense anxiety or depression. Respectively, when the brain is under stress or fear it sends signals to the gut, resulting in stomach upsets, stomach tightness, and so on.
“For decades, researchers and doctors believed that anxiety and depression have contributed to many gastrointestinal problems. Today, many studies show that this can happen and vice versa, “says Dr. Jay Patricha, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterogy – known internationally for its research on the intestinal nervous system (2).
So, these “two brains” constantly communicate and help each other. So often, some situations may not just be in our “mind” and have to do with our general state of health.
Age is a factor often associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Probiotics can reduce the harmful effects of aging on the brain, and so it has been suggested by several scientists that their intake could alleviate the symptoms of such chronic diseases (3). Also, gastrointestinal health can positively affect cognition, e.g. memory and other thinking skills (2). However, this is an area where further research is required.
So we can see that by choosing probiotics either from our diet or through some dietary supplement, we can contribute to better brain function and, of course, better mood!
In Vita4you you will find a wide variety of probiotic supplements. Plus, there are now supplements with probiotics for better moodl!